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Romney's first ad attacks Obama, not GOP rivals

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WASHINGTON--Timed for President Obama's New Hampshire visit on Tuesday, GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is up with his first ad in the early primary state, attacking Obama for not carrying out his 2008 campaign pledges--made in New Hampshire. The 60 second spot is titled "Believe in America" and comes as Obama is in New Hampshire to push his jobs plans and payroll tax cut proposals.

Romney, so far a run-away front-runner in New Hampshire's GOP primary, ignores his Republican rivals in the spot--and jumps to a general election theme. The spot includes footage from an Oct. 16, 2008 Obama campaign stop in New Hampshire, when he was locked in a general election battle with Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)

The problem with the spot: the Romney campaign misleads by using an edited slice of an Obama quote and not including his whole sentence.

Obama in Romney ad: "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

Entire Obama sentence on Oct. 16, 2008: "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

The Romney website post about the ad accurately provides the context absent from the misleading spot. Romney website post: "Three years ago, candidate Barack Obama mocked his opponent's campaign for saying "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." Now, President Obama's campaign is desperate not to talk about the economy. Their strategy is to wage a personal campaign - or "kill Romney." It is a campaign of distraction."

Obama 2012 campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt jumped all over this one. LaBolt's statement, "Response to Mitt Romney's spot, which uses the President citing a quote from a McCain campaign aide as if they were the President's own words:

"Just last week fact checkers scolded Mitt Romney for distorting a comment the President made about creating American jobs and now Romney launches a deceitful and dishonest attack rather than outline his own record or plans for the future. Maybe that's because Romney said he would let the foreclosure process 'hit the bottom,' his economic plan would shift costs onto the middle class rather than restoring their economic security, and he would let Wall Street write its own rules again. While the President brought us back from the brink of another depression and is fighting everyday to restore economic security for the middle class, Mitt Romney opposes the President's plan to create 2 million jobs and instead proposes a return to the same economic policies that led to the recession."


Fact Check - Mitt Romney's Attack Ad

Mitt Romney's first television ad continues a pattern of dishonesty and a lack of credibility on issues that matter to the American people. Once again, he completely distorts the President's words, this time taking a quote the President used while actually quoting Sen. John McCain's campaign advisor. Just this week he received "Four Pinocchios" for distorting another quote from the President. He claims he will create jobs but he was 47th in job creation as Governor. He attacks the President on the foreclosure crisis but said he would do nothing to help homeowners and would let foreclosures 'hit bottom.' But this is just more of same. Mitt Romney will do anything to get elected - he's "running for President, for Pete's sake!"


Romney's ad distorts President Obama's words. In fact, he was referring to a quote from a McCain campaign advisor.

President Obama Was Quoting A McCain Campaign Advisor When He Said "If We Keep Talking About The Economy, We're Going To Lose." At an event in Londonderry, New Hampshire, then-Sen. Obama said, "Even as we face the most serious economic crisis of our time; even as you are worried about keeping your jobs or paying your bills or staying in your homes, my opponent's campaign announced earlier this month that they want to 'turn the page' on the discussion about our economy so they can spend the final weeks of this election attacking me instead. Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.' Well, New Hampshire, last night we had a debate. I think you saw a bit of the McCain attack strategy in action. But here's what Senator McCain doesn't seem to understand. With the economy in turmoil and the American Dream at risk, the American people don't want to hear politicians attack each other - you want to hear about how we're going to attack the challenges facing middle class families each and every day. You want to hear about the issues that matter in your lives. You want to hear about how we're going to bring about the change that we desperately need for our country. That's what the American people want to hear." [Obama, Londonderry, New Hampshire, 10/16/08]

Romney's Own Ad Backup Confirms Obama Was Referring To Sen. McCain's Campaign Advisor. From Mitt Romney's press release on his attack ad:

OBAMA: "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

ยท Obama: "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks, Londonderry, NH, 10/16/08)


Romney claims he will make America a "job creating machine," but his record as governor was one of the worst in the nation. Under Romney, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation.

During Romney's Tenure As Governor Massachusetts' Economic Performance Was "One Of The Worst In The Country" On "All Key Labor Market Measures." "As Mitt Romney pursues his bid for the presidency, his record as Massachusetts governor will come under scrutiny, including how the state's economy performed during his administration. Our analysis reveals a weak comparative economic performance of the state over the Romney years, one of the worst in the country. On all key labor market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution." [Boston Globe, 7/29/07] "Romney's Jobs Record Provides Little To Boast About" As Massachusetts Only Gained 1% In Payroll Jobs Over His Term Compared To 5.3% In The Nation As A Whole. "Payroll jobs in Massachusetts hit their low point in December 2003 at the end of Romney's first year in office. And the number of jobs declined in seven of the remaining 36 months of his term, as measured by total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted, which is the standard measure of payroll employment used by economists and journalists. The claim that jobs increased "every single month" is false... Furthermore, Romney's job record provides little to boast about. By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole." [, 1/11/08]

In Romney's Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth. "The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last. The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane. The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%." [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]

PolitiFact "No Matter How We Sliced The Data" Massachusetts Was 47th Out Of 50 States In Job Creation Under Romney. PolitiFact said of the statement: When Romney was governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job creation, "Indeed, federal jobs numbers indicate that, no matter how we sliced the data, the state was 47th." [Politifact, 6/22/11]


In addition to his poor job creation record, median household income in Massachusetts also declined under Romney.

Under Romney, The Median Household Income In Massachusetts Decreased $1,963 In Real Terms. In 2002, the median household income in Massachusetts was $55,266. Adjusted for inflation, this amount was $61,932.33 in 2006 buying power. In 2006, the median household income in Massachusetts was $59,963, a decrease from the inflation adjusted median household income from 2002 of $1,963.33 [ American Community Survey, 2002 Median Household Income And 2006 Median Household Income; BLS Inflation Calculator, 2002-2006]


Despite attacking President Obama on foreclosures, Mitt Romney said he would do nothing to stop the foreclosure crisis, and foreclosures skyrocketed while he was governor.

Romney: "Don't Try To Stop The Foreclosure Process. Let It Run Its Course And The Bottom." Romney: "As for what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you can do to encourage housing? One is don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up. The Obama administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang." [Las Vegas Review Journal, 10/17/11]

Foreclosures In Massachusetts While Romney Was Governor Went From 4,200 In 2003 To 19,500 In 2006. "Nevada Democrats quickly pounced on Romney, casting his appearance as an April Fools joke and pointing to foreclosure rates that rose in Massachusetts during his four years as governor. There were about 4,200 foreclosures in the Bay State in 2003, Romney's first year in office, compared with 19,500 in 2006, his last year in office." [Boston Globe, 4/1/11]

Foreclosures In Massachusetts In 2006 Totaled 19,487. [Business Wire Press Release, ForeclosuresMass, 2/6/07]

Foreclosures In Massachusetts In 2005 Totaled 11,493. [Business Wire Press Release, ForeclosuresMass, 1/30/06]

Foreclosures In Massachusetts In 2004 Totaled 8,689. [Business Wire Press Release, ForeclosuresMass, 1/30/06]

Foreclosures in Massachusetts In 2003 Totaled 4,167. [Boston Globe, 1/20/04]


The U.S. Economy Has Added 2.8 Million Private Sector Jobs In The Last 20 Months. [, accessed 11/4/2011]

Private Sector Job Growth Has Continued For 20 Consecutive Months. [, accessed 11/4/2011]

GDP Has Seen Positive Growth For Nine Consecutive Quarters. [CEA, 10/27/2011]

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 22, 2011 7:58 AM.

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